Ending the Silence
Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental health issues makes a big difference. The NAMI Ending the Silence (ETS) program teaches students how to recognize early warning signs for themselves and their friends, where and how to get help, and when it’s not okay to keep a secret. The in-school presentation helps to raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health problems.
Half of the people living with mental illness start experiencing symptoms by age 14 yet it takes 8-10 years to get treatment. So, we really believe that by having conversations like this one at the middle and high school level, we can work together to shatter the stigma around asking for help, and encourage the students to pay more attention to their own hearts and minds as well as the hearts and minds of their peers.
ETS is designed for middle and high school age youth and can fit into a 50 minute class period. Students will leave the presentation equipped with facts and statistics regarding youth and mental health. More importantly, they will hear personal testimony about the challenges and triumphs of living with a mental health diagnosis and also have the rare opportunity to ask questions and have an informed dialogue with individuals who are affected by mental illness.
Knowing how to start the conversation is an important part of maintaining one’s mental health, and ETS can empower students with this tool. The ETS program aims to instill a message of hope and recovery, to encourage and educate teens how to actively care for themselves and their peers, and to reduce the stigma that can block a young person’s path to wellness.
NAMI Philadelphia's team also delivers specialized presentations in schools for students, teachers and administrators, and families. Custom presentations are also available upon request for community groups; professionals and others.
Are you interested in becoming a presenter yourself? Volunteer presenters are an invaluable asset to our team! As a presenter, you would be part of a 2 person team responsible for giving the Ending the Silence presentation to local middle and high schools. To be a lead presenter, you can be either an individual with lived experience or a loved one affected by mental illness. If you are a young adult age 18-35 living with mental illness in recovery and want to share your story to help others and break the stigma associated with mental illness, please contact Becca Lane at 267.687.4381 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download the Ending the Silence effectiveness determination flyer, which illustrates the results of the program, based on a series of student surveys.
Request an Ending The Silence presentation online